(From Chain album; 1990)
It’s understandable that Americans never give any kudos to Soul II Soul for fusing R&B and Hip-Hop in song form because it screws up the narrative that Puff Daddy & Mary J. Blige pioneered the practice in 1992. Unfortunately, this means that Americans then end up writing their own artists outta history – artists like The Family Stand who scored an international hit with Soul II Soul’s remix of Ghetto Heaven two years before Mary’s debut with Real Love.
Not that the British are much better, mind. Very few folk in my country acknowledge that Soul II Soul’s remix of Ghetto Heaven was the obvious blueprint for Massive Attack & Shara Nelson’s Unfinished Sympathy, and now Massive Attack are somehow considered more important than Soul II Soul. Unfinished Sympathy is a legit classic, but there’s an important rule every British citizen must adhere to: we only credit Bristol when we’re talkin’ Portishead or Sara & Keren from Bananarama.